The Pepperdine School of Law Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics and the University’s Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies teamed to host the third annual Religious Legal Theory conference, The Competing Claims of Law and Religion: Who Should Influence Whom? The event was held on the Malibu campus February 23 through 25.
The three-day conference welcomed professors, alumni, students, members of the legal community, and more than 80 speakers from throughout the world, including South America, Asia, Europe, and Canada. The conference was the largest religious theory conference Pepperdine has hosted.
The conference addressed a host of sub-questions, all at the forefront of contemporary debates over the respective roles of law and religion. Topics included constitutional law, good citizenship, and matters of religious faith.
Among the notable speakers were Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Emory School of Law; Andrew Koppelman, Northwestern University School of Law; Ayelet Shachar, University of Toronto; Suzanne Last Stone, Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University; Steven D. Smith, University of San Diego School of Law; Dallas Willard, USC Department of Philosophy; Richard Garnett, University of Notre Dame Law School, and James Davison Hunter, University of Virginia.
Featured were four plenary sessions and multiple breakout sessions, each addressing a variety of topics.
“We had people approaching each conference topic from most major angles: conservative, liberal, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, secular, feminist, multicultural,” said Robert Cochran, Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law and director of the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics. “Many feel that we are in a time of transition as to the question of law and religion and no one knows where we will wind up.”
Christopher Lund, assistant professor of law at Wayne State University Law School said this of the conference: “At other conferences, I look at the program and have trouble finding anything I really want to go to. Here what troubled me was that there was nothing I felt I could miss.”